Canberra startup Ethitrade wins Canberra Innovation Showcase

Sharon Kelley 11 January 2021
Tim Stasse and Zoe Piper from Ethitrade International.

Ethitrade International’s Tim Stasse and Zoe Piper. Photo: Supplied.

Ethitrade International founder and managing director Zoe Piper competed against nine other startups in Canberra to win the 2020 Canberra Innovation Network Innovation Showcase.

Competing pitches for the showcase flew thick and fast, but Zoe’s was a standout for the approach that her startup has taken, to empower microbusinesses in emerging markets and provide reputable information to consumers about where a product comes from.

The Ethitrade International platform provides a blockchain solution that shows consumers where products are made or grown, and can provide proof of the certifications a business holds. Macro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) collectively can predict the future growth of an emerging economy, but struggle to convey information about themselves in a provably authentic way.

Ethitrade also helps to facilitate access to business resources, market information, sales opportunities and financial services for MSMEs in emerging markets, which they may not otherwise be able to access.

The Ethitrade platform is an easy-to-use solution for these businesses, and captures information about individual farmers, farms and traders, and compiles market reports and product information for consumers, producers and exporters.

Initially, funding from The Asia Foundation and the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs enabled Zoe and chief technical officer Tim Stasse to build the platform and run a pilot program for Vietnamese dragon-fruit farms.

Further funding from the ACT Government in the form of an Innovation Connection (ICON) grant in 2020 is helping to rapidly scale the Ethitrade platform.

Building on their initial success, Tim and Zoe went on to win a prestigious ACT iAward for ACT Startup of the Year, and they are now working on expanding the platform across different countries and markets.

“The idea is to help very small businesses in emerging economies to promote their business and get data and feedback,” says Zoe. “For example, as a consumer I’d be able to scan goods that are using the system to track where my coffee comes from. You can scan the coffee, see a photo of the farm, the trader, and the certificates they hold, whether that’s fair trade, organic or other certifications.”

Two 2020 iAwards received by Ethitrade International.

Ethitrade International received two prestigious 2020 iAwards. Photo: Supplied.

Tim says: “The farmers want to know how much of their fruit is rejected compared to other farmers. And, if it’s worth using truck A versus truck B; all the business variables within their scope. We built a mobile web app so the farmers can look at all that information on their phone or their computer.”

Rather than slowing down for a Christmas break, the team at Ethitrade are currently finalising their latest contract with The Asia Foundation and preparing to load augmented reality content onto the platform. They are also onboarding around 1000 businesses in different industries, including bamboo, ceramics, coffee and other products.

The Canberra Innovation Showcase was judged by Region Media’s Genevieve Jacobs; the Academy of Interactive Entertainment’s John de Margheriti; Mill House Ventures’ Cindy Mitchell; and Brian Schmidt from the Australian National University.

Founder of non-alcoholic beer Heaps Normal, Andy Miller, won the People’s Choice Award of $500.

A full list of competitors can be viewed online at Canberra Innovation Network.


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